Gynaecocracy Day in Serres, Northern Greece

gynaecocracy-serresThe gynaecocracy custom was revived today in Serres, northern Greece, in the villages of Monoklisia and Nea Petra. Gynaecocracy Day, also called the custom of “Babo,” has its roots in ancient Greece while it is also a distant recall of the primitive period’s matriarchal spirit, which was obvious in the religion of people from Asia Minor since the Prehistoric period.

The custom used to take place in Thrace, it was transferred however to Serres when Thracians moved in the region. Every year, on January 8, women assume a dominant role. They receive the town keys, they have fun, dance and drink all day, while the men remain in their homes and take on the housewife role.

The married women elect a chairwoman, whose term of office lasts four years. Then they elect the rest of the female Board members. Furthermore, they honor the village’s oldest woman, also called “Babo.”

At noon, the married women walk through the village streets, accompanied by musical instruments, and then gather in the main square. They visit Babo’s home and offer her gifts and receive her wishes for longevity and fertility.

Men are not allowed to walk in the streets or approach women. If someone dares to approach them, then the women chase him and throw water at him. In the end, they take the man’s clothes and auction them.

Thousands of visitors visit the area on the day to enjoy the traditional food, wine and music. Meanwhile, many male politicians are usually present but they are forced to wear a scarf on their head and an apron.